ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers
for Christians working in education
“Six applicants for every place”, “heavily oversubscribed”: these sorts of claims are often used to establish how popular – and, by implication, how successful – schools and colleges are. But they should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Being able to measure demand is important in a market system. Saying “we are oversubscribed” is a neat, shorthand way of letting punters know the scarcity value of the commodity you are offering; that more people want it than can get it. But choosing a college is not generally a single-outcome decision. The post-16 free-for-all allows consumers to make multiple applications. However, they will ultimately choose only one institution, so a high number of applications is an inadequate measure of demand. What matters is the conversion rate – the proportion of applicants who actually enrol.
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